Friday, September 25, 2009

Vampires R Us

A facebook friend posted this picture:

I love "the section formerly known as young adult", by the way.

Anyhow, I was telling John about it, and he declared that people's fascination with vampires and their perception of them as sensual is kind of dumb, because "no one goes up to a woman and wants to *withdraw* fluids from her."

(He thought this might be too tacky to post, but tacky R Us.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall into Fall

Now that my balcony garden is gasping its last breath and my once-noble walnut trees look like sticks in a bucket,

nighty night, walnut tree

I thought I would look back on the weeks of pleasure I got out of tinkering with seeds and dirt this year.

When I started out, I didn't have any grand ambitions, such as feeding my family solely from the fruits of my labors or opening a stand at the farmers' market; rather, I just wanted to see if the seeds Hannah and I had been collecting in the kitchen would sprout and/or thrive. I totally love cantaloupe, so I was thrilled to see that it took off

future canteloupe

at first, but it was not to be. I started the seeds in the sunroom upstairs, but after a certain point, they just pooped out, even after I moved them outside.

Fortunately, my pepper plants didn't follow the lead of the cantaloupe.

pepper plant

I just threw a bunch of seeds in a couple of pots and ended up with a ton of plants putting on bell peppers and hot peppers. Luckily, most of them survived our absence in August, so I came back to lovely fruit:

fruits of my labor


balcony bounty

I've since stringed up the peppers to dry, which may or may not be successful since it has been cool and a bit damp recently, but I would like it if my gardening efforts lasted longer than the warm weather here.

I also had cilantro sporadically (sorry, Jooge), which we loved for making guacamole when we could get decent avacados, and some basil that just wouldn't die but surprisingly didn't bolt, even though we heard August was hot while we were gone.


I also made compost, despite John's protests that it would stink and attract flies.


I found some lovely grubs in the soil we bought, so I tipped them into the compost and they cheerfully slithered their way down into it. *shudder* Lovely! I had been trying to turn the compost regularly, but while we were in Texas stuff started to sprout in it. So I came back to a pot full of mystery plants.

mystery plants

I swear a lot of them look like tomato plants, but I don't recall putting tomatoes in there. Oh, well, they'll be dead soon enough when it finally turns cold.

Next year I would like to get more food plants to grow, although I don't have any specific ideas of what I want to plant, just not more bell peppers, although they are pretty easy.

My other gardening love is our row of window boxes. The house we live in has some typical southern German gingerbread trim, complete with window boxes, but it pained me to pay hundreds of dollars to fill them with equally typical hanging geraniums, so I have been buying packets with mixes of seeds to pack in there. What I like about them is that the mix invariably includes early and late sprouters, flowers that like the heat and flowers that like the cold, tall and short, and a variety of colors. In the spring and summer, there is nothing I like better than to get up and get a cup of coffee to take onto the balcony and survey my little seedlings in the early morning sunlight that is special to that time of the year. Sometimes I have an interesting guest

Window box denizen

or two.

Window box flower and big-winged bee

Mostly I enjoy trying to figure out what is going to bloom next. It is always a pleasant surprise.

Window Box Flowers

Yesterday I trimmed all the dead plants in the flower boxes and moved them to the floor of the balcony and then swept up all the dead leaves for the compost. After Xmas I will start sorting through my already purchased flower seeds and planning how I want to arrange them so I can see them through the kitchen window after the spring equinox. I'm looking forward to it.